The Myth of the Silver Bullet Solution

Life is complex... Why do I think it will be simple to fix things?
Life is complex… Why do I think it will be simple to fix things?

With the new year almost here, it’s time to think about what I’d like to improve in 2014. As a perfectionist, I have no problem finding things I would like to do better. Improving my health, being more productive as a writer, finding time for art projects, getting my house organized, spending more time with family and friends… the list is a long one.

As a result, I am always searching for new things to try, new approaches to old problems, looking for the silver bullet that will fix everything.

Where do I go when I need a solution to a life problem? Self-help books, of course.

I’ve read books on organization, decluttering, creative process, healthy living, and time management, in search of the one change that will result in a perfect life. Each one has promised me that everything will be better, even things completely unrelated to the issue at hand, if I just give their method or system a try.

I spent time this summer trying hard to follow a system for organizing your time, thinking it would help me to make the most of my days, as well as improve everything else. By making a schedule and following it, I would be able to do all the things I wanted to in the course of the week and make progress in all the areas I hoped to improve in. The schedule was going to be my silver bullet to solving all my life challenges.

Every time I made a schedule as suggested, however, I found it broke down as soon as I had a low energy day. (Despite great improvements in my health this year, I still have random days where I am unable to do much.) Without good health, I couldn’t make the schedule work, but I had hoped that the schedule would fix everything, even my health.

Wanting a silver bullet solution is completely human. Just go into any book store and look at the long shelves of self-help books promising to solve all your problems by addressing a single problem.

But real life is complex. Complex systems don’t get fixed with one big change. It takes little changes, applied at different times and in different areas, to make improvements that meet a range of life goals.

I’ll still be visiting the self-help section. The books there are rife with ideas that could be some of the little changes I need to make to get to the new places I want to go. But I will try not to believe that something I find there is going to be my silver bullet, because that way leads to frustration, and that’s one thing I don’t need more of.


Published by

Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

2 thoughts on “The Myth of the Silver Bullet Solution”

    1. That’s how exactly how I feel. So many books to read, projects to complete, things to try… so very little time. Can’t do everything, so I just have to pick and choose and do the best I can. Thanks for stopping by!


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